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Husted rescinds order against early-voting hours

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Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted conducts a press conference August 15, 2012 to address statewide standards for early voting hours.

The Columbus Dispatch Enlarge

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today rescinded prior instructions to county boards of elections that would have prevented them from scheduling early voting the last three days before the Nov. 6 election.

Mr. Husted, a Republican, today asked the U.S. District Court for a stay of a judge’s ruling last week which ordered the voting hours be allowed. The secretary of state issued his order to all 88 county boards of election after that ruling, and was then told to appear in court next week to explain why he had done so.

Democrats have noted that 93,000 Ohioans voted in 2008 on those three days, many of them in urban counties where then presidential candidate Barack Obama performed well. In court, they argued that it was unconstitutional to prohibit in-person voting during that period for most voters while others, specifically military personnel in Ohio and their families, could.

Attorney General Mike DeWine announced he will appeal the decision to the Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

He said the state has long made distinctions for voting access for people who are in the military and everybody else. A number of military groups had intervened in the case, interpreting the lawsuit as an attack on military voting rights.

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